Shocked in a Year

Elizabeth, Family No Comments

So….this is a post I have mixed feelings writing (that isn’t usually the case with me) & sharing with ‘everyone’ (which may only be 4 or 5 people anyway so I am probably ok). 

I am excited & proud, but scared & shocked (not sure that is the right word, but we will go with it).  

In July 2015 we were on our annual RV Family trip. It was a tough trip for me. We had just finished the big move and finally overcome Grace’s under weight problem. And I had already gone back to work (by. It had this RV trip/vacation already planned). Grace was 4.5 months old and she & I both caught a terrible summer cold (i.e. Couldn’t breath and not sleeping well for the first week of the trip). We were out hiking/sightseeing, it was hot…and I was miserable.

By the time we got to my Mom’s house (just before the 4th of July) I was so exhausted – I could barely socialize with people πŸ˜• I didn’t want to be in pictures with anyone. My knees and hips always hurt. I was still over-weight from the pregnancy, and ultimately – not happy.

As soon as we got home, I starting writing out My Plan. It was a plan to clean up my eating, and take back control of my life. I had a few key goals in mind.

*I wanted to BE in pictures with the kids/family (and not cringe every time I saw myself in a picture)

*I wanted to run around the yard with the kids and not be in pain or out of breath. 

*I wanted to get down on the floor to play with Grace, as she learned to crawl and walk. 

*I wanted to get back into ALL my work clothes (really nice pants and blouses, etc). I had 2 bins of clothes STARING at me in my closet). 

*I wanted to look & feel good for my husband. 

*I wanted feel good about myself. Own my body and work HARD to get it back (as best I could). 

And so it began. July 12th: I embarked on a 12 week journey…with some pretty steep goals. I printed out my 3 month plan and marked off every single day as I completed it. The plan was 100% geared towards food choices. I eliminated crap food every week and was planning to work down to a liquid fast again (similar to my Lent 2014 journey.) 

In my head, I had a goal of losing a total of 20 lbs. I never said that goal out load or wrote it down because I thought it was impossible and I didn’t want to be disappointed at the end. It was just WAY to much weight to lose with this silly little Plan I had come up with….or so I thought. 

About 5 weeks in….I started a workout video…something I had never done before. Two local friends (and Beachbody coaches) mentioned a new ‘hip hop dance’ workout that BB had come out with…. I figured I would give it a try. It looked  really fun, and it was something I could do IN my house with my family there (I did not want to leave the house anymore than I already do). Everyday, I would get home from work and immediately start my dance workout, before we would eat dinner. 

I have to say….it was SO hard for me at the beginning. I was still carrying so much weight and hadn’t really worked out in awhile. The ‘simplest’ moves felt hard and I was sore ALL over.  I had to ice my knees every night. But…I stuck with it…week after week. Every single day – and after I had mastered 1 dance routine (took about a week), I would move onto the next. It was hard work. I would be a hot, sweaty mess after my workouts, but I was getting better all the time AND I really started to see weight loss. I remember hitting -14lbs and feeling a real difference and it got me excited! 

I couldn’t do my liquid fast because I was working out so much. In fact, I had to add back chicken & fish so I would have enough energy to dance. 

At the end of 12 weeks (it was the beginning of October) I was SO happy, I felt amazing….AND, I had lost 20 lbs!! I couldn’t believe it! 

In fact, I kept going – I was still working out everyday and ended up losing another  8 lbs through the holidays (now THAT was shocking – I was losing weight during Thanksgiving & Christmas time!) 

When the New Year came around, one of my goals was to do something I had never done before. So, I signed up for a 1/2 marathon (there is a post all about that in March ’16). At the time of the race, I had lost a little more than 30 lbs in total 😳😳

I went off my plan for a few months. Ate whatever I wanted, but still worked out 5-6 times a week. I gained a bit of weight back and decided it was time to clean up again in June (last month.) “De-Junk June” was born (I made it up). I had a bunch of goals. One new one was a 3-Day Juice Cleanse (purchased online).  

It was SO much better than making my own smoothies/juice. 18 bottles of fresh fruit/veggie juice. It was great (I will totally do it again) and it was only 3 days. 

So….why am I blogging about all of this?? 

Of course, the usual reason is that I want to remember this time, this experience. I have to write it down so I can look back and read about it. But the other reason is because I just can’t believe what has happened over the last year. I am still shocked by the whole thing. My sister keeps saying “why are you surprised? You put your mind to something and you worked really hard — and you are seeing/feeling the deserved results!” I guess that is true – but I really didn’t think that I could do it — after 3 kids and being in my late 30’s (ugh…I hurt to even type that!!) I just didn’t expect to see the scale go down, so much, in that time frame….and then, stay down. 

I obviously felt the change happening especially in my clothes. I ended up pulling out ALL my work clothes and only getting to wear them for a few months (and I totally wore them longer than I should have). I had saggy bottom and crouch. It looked terrible. I had to buy all new stuff in the next size down (and I STILL can’t believe THAT happened. It wasn’t even a goal I had set). 

You know how everyone has their ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures – when they lose weight? I NEVER thought I would do anything like that. I certainly didn’t take any ‘before’ pictures on purpose. But I did grab a couple from our Family vacation last year. There were only a few of me. So, here you go. The results of 11+ months of work. 

Same shirt/outfit – 11 months apart…

4th of July 2015 vs Date night black dress beginning June 2016….

This one is probably one of my favorites. My baby boy & our boots – Western Days Parade, 1 year apart. 

This is what my journey looked like in a graph…for the 11 months. 

This graph was absolutely shocking to me. Holy cow. Who would have thought?? 

Here are my June 2016 results…3 weeks apart: 

I didn’t lose the 10 lbs I wanted – but my bigger goal was to work on my core/stomach/abs area. I was so happy to SEE and FEEL a difference. 

I am still loving my workouts. I am at the office every single morning…doing something. Dancing with friends (yes, I have talked others into my crazy Cize workouts!), walking the hills around the office, getting my 10K steps every single day (85 days straight and counting). My kids even work out with me. AJ loves to dance. Grace is getting better (see above). Auntie  Nancy got in on the fun while she was here, too!  If you ever want to see how silly we look – let me know. I recorded us the other day 😊 But can’t post videos on the blog for some reason. 
I will share one more picture from today. 

Bought this dress months ago. Clearance online. It didn’t fit very good back then. Didn’t really want to keep it because I wasn’t sure I would ever wear it (after all – white really isn’t a good color for most people). But – the colors are great for the 4th of July and summer (and the price was right…i.e. Super cheap). πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβ˜€οΈ I tried it on today….and it fit. Perfectly. 😳

It’s just amazing what you can do when you set goals and work REALLY hard.

I am still so shocked. -34 lbs down in a year…and I hope to lose a bit more….and get stronger. 

My final thought: I owe Joe the BIGGEST ‘thank you’ in the world. He was my #1 supporter, my coach, my chef, my friend, — it’s because of him that I was successful. Thanks babe! I love ya! ❀️


Elizabeth, Family, Friends No Comments

Do you remember…a long time ago, when I used to write about my feelings and/or thoughts (mostly random) and post it on the blog?

 I have gotten away from doing that here — or anywhere else. It’s a rare occasion that I just ‘go off’ on all my random, long winded thoughts/words/ideas. There have been VERY quiet times, over the past few years, in this blog space. Sometimes, it would go so long (with no posts, no pictures, no updates) and Joe would bring it up – I would always say that I just had TOO much to say/share – so I was ‘waiting’ for a time to sit down and DO IT! He said “you don’t always HAVE to write words –  you can just post pictures”  — eek!! 

I am not sure I can actually do that. No words? No explainations? Just a title and pictures. Yeah – no. I am pretty sure I can’t do that. 

There have been a few things, over the last few months, that have been weighing heavy on my heart and stolen time in my brain (sometimes during my ‘sleep hours’). Let’s see if I can put the words down – and get it out of my head (at least for a little break).

One of the first is actually: social media. It’s the idea that people create amazing/wonderful lives on social media – in a effort to appear untouched by pain/hurt/hardship. Or to prove their life is better than most. To give the illusion of happiness and joy. Or maybe it’s just to make people feel really jealous. I am not sure if this ‘hype’ still exists – but it’s certainly been on my mind lately. 
As you may or may not know, I am a total creeper of my own Instagram pictures, my old Facebook videos of the kids, and scrolling through all the photos on the blog. I wonder if I have, unintentionally, done this very thing that I have internally said was SO ridiculous? I mean, it’s not like I profess my bad days, hurt feelings, exhausted work days, struggles with family & friends, tempter tantrums with kids, or any other super frustrating moments,  in my status update regularly (maybe never?) I don’t air ‘dirty laundry’ on social media…..but, I wonder if that creates this false-perfect picture of life? As I scroll through my camera roll, at the 2,000+ current photos, there is SO much joy and fun. It’s not like I pull my phone out and snap a selfie at the moment I have been near tears due to being completely overwhelmed. (There IS a terrible picture of me from the 1/2 marathon though. I looked near death. Felt that way, too) 

I am not sure there is a ‘gray/normal’ area when it comes to social media. I actually don’t really care much about the hype of ‘creating a picture perfect world’ – if that is what others are doing. It doesn’t really affect me. I also don’t spend a ton of time comparing my life to all the other ‘perfect’ lives out there. I think it’s been proven many times – but human interaction, face-to-face chats, simple 1:1 time,  go A LONG way in relationship building. There is nothing better than getting the opportunity to SEE an old friend and catch up in person. That is when you can REALLY air the dirty laundry – and you can SEE and FEEL their emotions/reactions. Emojis only go so far in conveying reality (I still love them though. Makes me feel like I am getting my point/excitement/frustration across in less key strokes). 

In the absence of SEEING all the people I would love to hug and catch up with – I actually think there is something great that social media has provided us. We can reach our ‘networks’ with one post – asking questions, getting advice – we can update our family & friends on what is going on – real time, with still shots AND video clips. I love that part. 

Over the last few years, I have seriously considered abandoning social media, all together (even my blog). Especially when I have had many conversations with people that feel like they are completely overwhelmed with everyone else’s business, life interactions, meal choices, political stances, multi-level marketing campaigns, etc. As you can see, I have never followed through with that idea. I always think about it – and work through the concerns – the pros and the cons. 

Sure, there are people that annoy me (on social media) for many different reasons. It’s pretty simple though. You don’t have to look at anything they post or read anything they say. It’s all up to me. I am just not willing to shut down the whole thing – because I have family & friends that are so far away. I want them to see pictures (if they want to) of the kids and what we are up to. And I want to see what THEY are doing with their families. Babies are born, birthdays are celebrated, holidays are shared. I love seeing that stuff and feeling like I am a little part in someone’s life (at least staying up-to-date on the latest haircuts, the number of teeth lost and the best amusement park rides for 8 year olds). I will stick with my love of Instagram (for now, anyway). It’s so simple – just pictures. I love it. And Facebook will stay – too many important people on there that I want to stay in touch with while we are apart. No Twitter for me (I don’t get it…at all). And Pinterest is super, duper scary to me (that would be a whole separate post on my ‘craftiness weakness’)..

That brings me to my second topic – probably the ONE that has weighed the most on my heart lately.  


I am reminded, nearly everyday, that marriages all over — are fragile. There are people all around me – that are really struggling….and I may have NO idea that there is anything wrong (maybe because their ‘social media life’ looks amazing & happy?). And to be honest, even if I DID know all the details, I am not equipped or educated enough to help πŸ˜•

As more and more couples chose to end their marriage (for so many different reasons), I can’t help but be worried! I feel like I ask Joe all the time “are we ok?” – “that’s not going to happen to us, right?”  

He always looks at me like I am crazy. Like…WHY in the world would I ask him that? Or think that anything was wrong. I think maybe we are really weird for always talking about this – but with all that is going around in our circles of friends – I don’t want to blindly live life, pretending everything is peachy – and miss something really big. Again, Joe looks at me like I am crazy. Ha ha. (You know the look I am talking about, right? The “Woman, seriously? Where do you come up with this stuff? Look“) 

I feel like I have to say it…especially after my 1st rant on social media above. I actually feel like I am living in a fairy tale. And sometimes, I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. I mean, not that everything is ‘perfect’ – but as Joe says, “our life is pretty much as close to perfect as it can get”. What a sweet thing to say, huh? (And you know he means it, otherwise, he would NOT say it). 

I love being married. That is no lie. It’s not an exaggeration. I am not putting on a social media front. What I type, is what you can hear me saying in the bathroom at work, to a co-worker complaining about her husband. You would hear me say it at a family holiday gathering, as I am scolding the boys or changing a poopy diaper. You would hear me say it to Joe, with people around. Even, during tax time…for as much as I DESPISE doing our taxes…I would still profess my love of being a wife. (And yes, in case you are wondering – we DO have things that drive us BONKERS with each other. That is a list/post for another time…but I swear, we are somewhat ‘normal’) 

We have friends that are getting divorced.  Quite a number of them very recently. Different things going on, and I certainly do NOT know all the details. But I always wonder what went wrong? I think about the time Joe & I were engaged, planning our wedding. I remember our wedding day like it was just last week. I am sure nearly everyone else felt those feelings during those times, and on that BIG day, right? 

So, what went wrong? How can I prevent it…the unknown evil that crushes marriages? The boys are more aware of divorce and have asked us if we would ever get divorced. They have friends who’s parents are getting divorced or are already living separate lives. They know my parents (their grandparents) are divorced and they have asked why that happened. 

In all this, I have to keep my focus. I have to stick to what I know and what I can control. I can ALWAYS work on my marriage. Continuous improvement. Joe would say (and does say) “I am perfectly happy. We get along great. I have no problems with marriage” It’s very black or white for guys, I think (not that I disagree with him). But, I am always thinking of ways to make things better. Do a marriage devotional/study. Read articles on marriages (the good and the bad). Ask friends for advice/ideas. Take a class together or plan some kind of a retreat. Book a sitter and have a date night (our beloved 1:1 time together….where I drag Joe around a store to shop for the kids — probably NOT the best way to improve a marriage, huh?? 😳) Watch other couples interact with each other – and then talk to each other about what we like & can’t stand. Find married couples that have YEARS on us – I am talking 30, 40, 50+ years of marriage – and pick their brain & their experiences for ‘what works’. 

I can TELL Joe that I love him and I love being married. (And he is probably tired of hearing this– but I can keep beggimg him to marry me, again). I can THANK him. For anything & everything. I can do nice things, whenever I want — like: bring home an Almond Joy for him from the candy bin at work or send him out for a beer with a friend. The list goes on…and on. The possibilities really are endless, right? 

It’s true. I am worried about ‘marriage’. It’s getting a pretty dim reputation these days….or maybe it’s just as it’s always been, but I am in a ‘circle of unhappy fiends, getting separated/divorced – rut’? Or maybe the fact that BOTH of my sisters are engaged now and both are planning weddings — has got me thinking even more. 

 There isn’t much I can do  about everyone else (although, I try and I pray and I ask), but I CAN do something for me, for Joe, for our kids and for our marriage. I can keep my eyes open, and LISTEN to what happening around us and try to learn from it.  I will not turn a cheek on the ‘hard stuff’. I can be INCREDIBLY thankful for….literally, everything. I can stay on the ‘home team cheer squad’ when it comes to marriage. I can keep trying and not take ‘time’ for granted. 


Well, there you go. Waaaaay more WORDS than anyone has time for, huh? If you made it this far, you definitely deserve a hug from me — and you are officially, inside my head. See, I have a LOT to say. It took me 3 nights to get this out….and I could keep going with random topics & thoughts….but I am begging myself to shut up – I can only imagine what you are saying! 😳

I will get back to ‘kid-picture-posts’ ASAP! πŸ˜€ 

13.1 Miles, Whoa!

Anthony, Elizabeth, Family, Friends, Grace, Nicholas No Comments

Someone had the bright idea of signing up to do a half marathon…any guesses who that might be? 😳

Jen & I signed up for the El Cajon 1/2 marathon. And then the whole family got into it. Neal, Joe, AJ, Dani, Nicholas, Johm Henry & Grace did the 5k.

Joe found me a treadmill on Craigslist and I got to training.

It was all going pretty good…(hard, but good). Β Red-faced sweaty me after 8 1/2 miles (below).

Until…I got the flu….followed by a sinus infection…followed by a foot injury.

I was TERRIFIED the night before. I really didn’t know if I could do it.

Β Β 
Saturday, March 12th was a beautiful day. Couldn’t have asked for better. Jen & I kicked things off with Dani cheering us on.

Read the rest…

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